Programming note: Canucks-Sharks coverage starts tonight at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE – The Sharks have reassigned rookie center Chris Tierney to their AHL affiliate in Worcester.
Tierney played in 11 of the Sharks’ first 13 games, primarily as the third line center, posting two assists and a –2 rating in approximately 12 minutes of ice time per game. The 20-year-old is a former second round draft pick of the Sharks in 2012.
“The last thing we need is a 20-year-old watching games and not playing. It wasn’t a tough decision,” Todd McLellan said. “If I talk about Chris’ game, I think he deserved the opportunity to be in the NHL. I think he’s a National Hockey League player. But, the development process can’t get stunted at that age and just have him watch games.”
Tommy Wingels, who was serving in a bit of a mentor role with Tierney during camp and parts of the season when they were on a line together, expects Tierney to return to the NHL shortly.
“It’s a numbers game right now. Unfortunately, he’s on the wrong side of that,” Wingels said. “I don’t think it’s a fact of him struggling up here and him needing him to work on a lot of things, but that being said, [the AHL] is a great league to work on your game.
“Chris is a really smart player on the ice and off the ice. He’ll take it the right way and he’ll be back here before we know it, no doubt.”
The move paves the way for Tyler Kennedy’s return. Kennedy, 28, has been activated from injured reserve and will play against the Canucks on Thursday at SAP Center. Kennedy suffered an upper body injury early in training camp and has yet to make his season debut, but is slotted on the third line with James Sheppard and Tomas Hertl.
[RELATED: Kennedy anxious to get career back on track]
Tierney was also one of the few Sharks that did not require waivers in order to be removed from the roster. Players like Tye McGinn and Adam Burish, who could be considered on the bubble, would have had to clear in order to go down to the minors.